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New England Generosity: Not Enough?

John Alves, of Dartmouth, Mass., uses a basket while taking collection during Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford, Mass. in 2009. (AP)

John Alves, of Dartmouth, Mass., uses a basket while taking collection during Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford, Mass. in 2009. (AP)

Red states are more generous than blue states. That’s one of the headlines out of a recent report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The study ranked states, counties, even zip codes by how residents give to charities and found the New England region at the bottom of the list.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy says that tax breaks, politics, faith and even the make up of our neighborhoods contributes to giving patterns across the country, but some commentators are calling residents of our region just plain stingy.

So what’s behind these numbers? How do Massachusetts residents give to the causes they care about?



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  • J__o__h__n

    Blue states residents pay more in federal taxes than we get back.  Blue states provide more social services for our residents.  We are less religious and much of the alleged philanthropy measured in this study are religious donations.  How much of money raised by churches goes to church overhead, activities for the members, and proselytizing v. actual charitable works?

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Does this make New England “Liberal in Name Only” 
    (LINO) ?   ;-) 

    • Sinclair

      New Englanders are also known for their low profile anonymous approach toward giving (of themselves).  Comes from the original Puritans.  They like to avoid today’s pretenses often associated with charity.

  • NotSoldOnNewEnglad

    Boston is number 5 on the Rudest Cities List via Travel + Leisure and Massachusetts ranks 48 on the “How America Gives” – seems to be related. This is a tough and stingy place!

  • Thinkin5

    Rarely is my charitable giving something that I can put on a tax return. A little sprinkled around to many places isn’t worth reporting on a tax return. Neither can you report money, things, or time donated to un-official charities like friends, relatives, strangers in need.

  • Sinclair

    Nothing is mentioned about VOLUNTEER WORK which is measurable.  It would be quite a task to track it though.  It’s easy for researchers to check IRS figures and then spin it politically by bashing liberals. 

    It’s easy for a wealthy person to write a check for a tax deduction and not get their hands dirty such as feeding the homeless.  In all my years, I’ve rarely found a politically conservative person doing volunteer work involving the needy. 

    The demographics in politically conservative states are filled with fundamentalist religious organizations within which their members tithe.  Mormons, Southern Methodists, Southern Baptists, Missouri Synod Lutherans and independent fundamentalist mega churches are prime examples of this.  Their tithing often exceeds IRS allowances for charity.

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